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Bush’s Doublespeak about North Korea

From the New York Times today:

President Bush signaled a major shift in approach to North Korea today, saying for the first time that if North Korea abandoned its nuclear weapons program he would consider offering a “bold initiative” that could bring aid, energy and eventually even diplomatic and security agreements to the politically and economically isolated country. . . .

Mr. Bush’s aides insist there are major differences between his approach and Mr. Clinton’s. North Korea must not only refreeze its activities at the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon, they say, but it must actually dismantle them. “We don’t ever want to be in the position again where the North Koreans can just flip this switch on again,” said one senior administration official.

Mr. Bush seemed to hint at that today when he said, “What this nation won’t do is be blackmailed.”

A country threatens another with nuclear weapons and a world war, and the other country offers them lots of aid in exchange. Only in Doublespeak is that not blackmail.

The repercussions of this capitulation are frightening: every country hostile to the U.S. will learn that we will give in to any demands if they are backed up by a nuclear threat. So much for the practicality of pragmatism. What we desperately need is a morally principaled leader. It is a life or death situation.

Is Russia with Us or with the Terrorists?

IRVINE, CA–The accord Russia signed three weeks ago to accelerate the construction of a nuclear reactor in Iran and supply it with nuclear fuel is a direct threat against the security of the United States, said David Holcberg, a senior writer for the Ayn Rand Institute.

“According to our State Department,” Holcberg noted, “Iran is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, financing, training and equipping terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad.”

“Iran’s claim that the reactor will be used for civilian purposes is absurd. Iran has more oil to generate electricity than it could possibly consume in the foreseeable future. Moreover,” Holcberg pointed out, “Iran’s intentions towards the United States, which it calls the ‘Great Satan,’ have been made clear by 23 years of chanting ‘Death to America’ in Iran’s state-controlled mosques.”

“With this accord with Iran, Putin is effectively arming one of our most dangerous enemies, and thus placing Russia on the side of the Iranian regime and against the United States. President Bush,” Holcberg suggested, “must pressure Putin to kill this deal.”

“If Putin is persuaded to cancel the accord with Iran, other countries will get the message that in this conflict one must take sides–and one better take the American side. It is time for the Russians and everybody else,” Holcberg concluded, “to choose the side they’re on. They are either with us or with the terrorists.”

America’s Saudi “Allies”

Here’s some of what the Saudis are spending that $14.6 million PR budget on:

When radio ads critical of Israel ran in 15 U.S. cities last spring, they identified the Alliance for Peace and Justice as sponsor. The alliance was described by its Washington p.r. firm, Qorvis Communications, as a consortium of Middle East — policy groups based in the U.S. But when Qorvis reported its ad work to the Justice Department last month, it revealed that funding for the $679,000 media buy actually came from another source: the Saudi government. [Time, 1/20/03]

Meanwhile here’s what else they’re up to:

Fearing the impact of a U.S.-led war on Iraq, Washington’s longtime regional ally Saudi Arabia appears to be trying to rally the Arab world against any “illegitimate” foreign attack on its neighbor.

A day after de facto ruler Crown Prince Abdullah said the kingdom was making undisclosed proposals to Arab states, Saudi officials said Monday that the ideas would be put formally to an annual Arab summit to be held in Bahrain in March.

“The proposal calls on Arab states to close ranks and totally reject any illegitimate foreign aggression on any Arab country,” one Saudi official told Reuters. [Reuters, 1/13/03]

Of course if it’s “legitimate” foreign aggression, then they’re all in favor…

Guns Save Innocent Lives

An AP article “74-Year-Old Man Kills Would-Be Robber” (January, 10, 2002), documents the acts of a 74-year-old “Pac A Sac” convenience store owner, J.C. Adams, who confronted three would-be robbers in his convience store last Thursday: Cameron Lemont Glover, 17. Glover’s 19-year-old brother, Leonard, and Tammy Crystal Jones. He ended up killing Cameron Glover, and injuring his brother Leonard:

On a surveillance monitor, he saw two men and a woman hold up an employee at the cash register. That’s when Adams pushed his walker to the front of the store and confronted the armed suspects, killing one man and wounding the other. An employee held the woman until police arrived.

“No need to let something like that live,” said Adams, who had been wounded in a May 2000 robbery attempt in which he killed another intruder.

Police said Friday that Adams would not be charged in the shooting death Thursday…Adams’ defense of the store has made him a legend in the neighborhood. “Everybody knows J.C.,” said resident Nancy Pope. “Obviously (robbers) don’t know who they are messing with.”

Parsing Necessary

From the Houston Chronicle:

A senior Bush administration official suggested Saturday that the nuclear crisis with North Korea was the predictable result of a flawed 1994 agreement signed by the Clinton administration with Pyongyang that “frontloaded all the benefits and left the difficult things to the end” — for the next president.

The comments marked a sharp change of direction from the administration’s insistence in recent weeks that only North Korea was to blame for the crisis. As recently as last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell said he gave “great credit” to the Clinton administration for freezing North Korea’s plutonium enrichment program with the 1994 Agreed Framework.

We have seen this numerous times before: the Bush Administration policy versus Colin Powell’s policy. Powell is a rogue and Bush is to blame for tolerating brazen dissension. The fact is that the Clinton Administration is to blame, and that the Bush Administration is a failure in dealing with the inherited crisis.

Indepence vs. Approval

From today’s Washington Post,

Over the past week, key U.S. allies have sent an unambiguous message to the Bush administration to give United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq time to complete their work, even if it means delaying the onset of hostilities.

The allied opposition to an early war with Iraq has strengthened the hand of moderates in the administration who have been arguing against setting a firm deadline for Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to comply with demands for giving up his weapons of mass destruction, according to U.S. officials and allied diplomats. According to these sources, the odds of a February war appear to be receding, barring a major Iraqi misstep that would galvanize Western governments and public opinion.

“The odds have gone down for war,” said a well-placed U.S. official. “We don’t have a good war plan; the inspectors have unprecedented access to Iraq; we have just started giving them intelligence; we have to give them more time to see how this works. There is no reason to stop the process until it can’t proceed any further.”

The apparent relaxation in administration rhetoric contrasts with statements by President Bush late last year advocating a “zero tolerance” policy toward Hussein. After weeks of insisting that U.S. forces were poised to intervene in Iraq if Hussein failed to properly account for his weapons of mass destruction, administration spokesmen are now echoing their European counterparts, and saying the inspectors should be given time to do their work.

This is what happens when our President lacks the moral courage to act independently and instead relies on a coalition for approval. He has surrendered U.S. sovereignty and is now in the sorry position of begging for cooperation. Hopefully he will gain courage and go it alone. We will see.

Heaven on Earth?

VATICAN CITY–According to a report released last Wednesday, Lord Jesus Christ’s favorite terrestrial hangout has one of the highest per capita crime rates in the world.  Vatican City’s chief prosecutor, Mr. Nicola Picardi, reported that theft, embezzlement, and fraud are the three most common crimes in the “holy city.” 


The fraud rate is not expected to fall until the Pope stops inviting Jesus over.

Atlas shrugs Venezuelan style as banks close

From a Boomberg article by David DeRosa, “Atlas shrugs Venezuelan style as banks close”,

Venezuela is beginning to sound like something out of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged — where the middle class and professionals literally walk off their jobs. Banks have started to join the 40-day-old strike paralyzing the country. Yet things are still at a stalemate with President Hugo Chavez’s opposition demanding that he resign or at least hold a referendum on the continuation of his administration.                                                    

Rand’s novel has workers and management refusing to work at jobs requiring more than manual labor skills because they know any wealth they create will be looted from them by an oppressive government. As Rand once wrote: “The man who produces while others dispose of his product is a slave.” […]

Open Immigration and Freedom

One reader asks, “[H]ow can a free or semi-free country with an open immigration policy protect itself from being taken over by alien anti-freedom ideologies?”

The answer is that a country’s government does not have to protect against ideologies, it only needs to protect against those who seek to violate individual rights. And that someone holds an anti-freedom ideology is not a violation of rights. As for the source of idelogies that are crippling America, it is the domestic anti-freedom ideologies (whether of the Chomsky’s on the Left or the Buchanan’s on the Right), and not the foreign anti-freedom ideologies, that are the problem. It is America’s own intellectuals who are destroying it. The big problem is that when immigrants come to the U.S. they learn from Americans that America is evil, racist, imperialist, a robber-barron, etc. from ‘European-Americans’ (and their various non-European prodigies) in U.S. schools, the media, etc. The ideologies are here already and their source is domestic.

As for unproductive immigrants being attracted to the welfare state, perhaps that is a good reason to dismantle a system that rewards moochers and parasites. After all, a parasite is a parasite, and it is irrelevant to your pocket-book whether that parasite who is imported or home grown. After all if someone murders your mother does it make you feel any better that the murderer was from your own home town? The corollarly of this principle is that a producer is a producer, and whether that producer is an immigrant or a citizen is irrelevant to the fact that you are able to obtain values by trading with them. A productive individual is always a benefit to the economy they are in. The key to the immigration problem is not to look at individuals as members of a collective, but to judge them as individuals, i.e., by their virtues–productivity, honesty, rationality, pride, etc. On such a standard you want to attract as many freedom-loving immigrants into America as possible, while creating an environment that does not reward moochers or looters thus enticing them to leave. The best way to do that is to shut down the welfare state, i.e., laissez-faire capitalism.

The Injustice of Making “Needs” into Rights

From the New York Sun,

One in six families seeking housing in the city’s strained homeless shelter system is a recent arrival from out of town, out of state, or even out of the country, records show….

New York City is uniquely generous in offering a “right to shelter” to all comers….

The “right to shelter,” established in a series of court rulings and consent decrees in the early 1980s, means that if a family has been in the city for a day, New York is obliged to find them a place to sleep by midnight of the night that they arrive in the Bronx intake center….

“The word must be getting out about New York City’s unique housing policy: you come here, and the taxpayers will pay for you to have an apartment by midnight tonight or pay you $150 a day in fines,” said George McDonald, president of the Doe Fund….

Repeat after me: No one has a right to anything just because he happens to need it.

Thank You, Tony Blair

Tony Blair, quoted in the Guardian (January 8th, 2003),

“I would never commit British troops to a war I thought was wrong or unnecessary. But the price of influence is that we do not leave the US to face the tricky issues alone.

“By tricky, I mean the ones which people wish weren’t there, don’t want to deal with and, if I can put it a little pejoratively, know the US should confront, but want the luxury of criticising them for it….

“I am not surprised by anti-Americanism, but it is a foolish indulgence… For all their faults–and all nations have them–the US is a force for good.”

Huffing and Puffing Over SUVs

Ratcheting up the debate over sport utility vehicles, new television commercials suggest that people who buy the vehicles are supporting terrorists. The commercials are so provocative that some television stations are refusing to run them.

Patterned after the commercials that try to discourage drug use by suggesting that profits from illegal drugs go to terrorists, the new commercials say that money for gas needed for S.U.V.’s goes to terrorists….

The two 30-second commercials are the brainchild of the author and columnist Arianna Huffington. [New York Times, 1/8/03]

Of course, these ads mean that not just SUVs, but every driver is supporting terrorism.

What, it’s only “wasteful” use that counts as supporting terrorism? OK, then, anyone who drives more than is minimally necessary is supporting terrorism. The amount of gas “wasted” on “needless” driving is no doubt far more than is “wasted” by driving SUVs rather than economy cars.

In fact, by Ms. Huffington’s logic, anti-nuclear protesters support terrorism as well, since by going nuclear we could significantly reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

Now it’s true–buying oil sends money to oil-producing countries, some of whom support terrorism. But then the answer is to ban purchasing oil from those countries–or, better yet, to overthrow the governments of those countries and to return the oil to its rightful owners, the American and British companies who discovered and developed the oil.

These ads are not the product of concern with terrorism, but of hatred for SUVs, and more fundamentally, of hatred of selfishness–which SUVs supposedly represent. I say let’s have more selfishness, more SUVs, and more intolerance of regimes that support terrorism.

Venezuelans Shrugging…

According to the Associated Press (January 7, 2003):

Foes of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, marching in their thousands in Caracas, tore up income-tax forms on Tuesday as they added a tax revolt to a five-week-old strike crippling the nation’s crucial oil exports….

“We are not going to pay taxes until this government goes,” 52-year-old housewife Belkis Soto told Reuters as she took part in the march….

The opposition, which has accompanied the strike with almost daily street protests, has called on individuals and firms to stop paying taxes, whether income or sales taxes.

[S]peaking at a school, [Chavez] warned his striking opponents their refusal to pay taxes was against the law. “They’ve tried to break the oil industry … now they’re trying to break the national treasury so there is no money,” he said.

Tax authorities say offenders face fines and prison terms ranging from six months to seven years.

William Jefferson Clinton: The Democrat’s Trent Lott

According to Deroy Murdock in National Review, “Dems Need to Houseclean” (January 6, 2003), “Before lecturing Republicans, Democrats should mop up their side of the political spectrum.” Writes Murdock,

Just this fall, Clinton praised Arkansas’ late Democratic senator J. William Fulbright, a notorious segregationist who opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He also signed the Southern Manifesto, which denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Brown vs. Board of Education school desegregation decision in 1954. Clinton called Fulbright “My mentor, a visionary, a humanitarian.”

OK, all you African-hyphenatedCongressman–where is the outrage? But wait, Clinton’s history is even worse then Lott’s:

During his 12-year tenure, Governor Clinton never approved a state civil-rights law. However, he did issue birthday proclamations honoring Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee. He also signed Act 116 in 1987. That statute reconfirmed that the star directly above the word “Arkansas” in the state flag “is to commemorate the Confederate States of America.” Arkansas also observed Confederate Flag Day every year Clinton served. The governor’s silence was consent.

Arkansas’ former governor, the late Orval Eugene Faubus, attended Bill Clinton’s 1979 gubernatorial inauguration, where the two pols hugged, as Arkansas Democrat-Gazette editorial page editor Paul Greenberg recalls. Faubus, of course, resisted the integration of Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957. He actually deployed National Guard soldiers to bar nine black students from entering. Republican President Dwight Eisenhower dispatched soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division to break that logjam and give the black teens a fighting chance to learn. Clinton once lauded that same Faubus as a “man of significant ability.”

What was Lott thinking when he aped Clinton–of the Presidency perhaps? Alas for Lott, he forgot only Democrats can get away with being racist. Just ask former Klansman Robert Byrd who “remains the Senate’s president pro tempore, the third in the line of presidential succession behind Vice President Dick Cheney and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R, Illinois).” He’s a Democrat.

Michael Moore, Racist

In a column in the England’s The Independent newspaper, it is reported that leftist American movie director and author Michael Moore (“Roger and Me,” “Stupid White Men,” “Bowling for Columbine”) alleged that black men–being more violent–would have better fought the 9/11 terrorists than the white people on the planes.

[Moore] went into a rant about how the passengers on the planes on 11 September were scaredy-cats because they were mostly white. If the passengers had included black men, he claimed, those killers, with their puny bodies and unimpressive small knives, would have been crushed by the dudes, who as we all know take no disrespect from anybody. God save us from such stupid white men, especially now, when in the US and the UK, black people’s lives are being ripped to shreds by drugs, lawlessness, fear and frightful violence plus the endless circle of racism, exclusion and incarceration. This is not awesome, Mr Moore; it is a calamity, for descendants of slaves unimaginably more so.

Mr. Moore is a disgrace for many reasons. Here is yet another. This is up there with Senator Trent Lott’s infamous recent comments.

Miami Radio Talk Show Hosts Play Prank on Dictator Chavez

Quoting from a Miami Herald article, “The joke’s on President Chávez“,

Two Miami radio-show hosts known for playing outrageous pranks on the air got Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez on a private line this morning by pretending that Cuban leader Fidel Castro was calling him from Havana. ”We still can’t believe it,” said Enrique Santos, co-host of El Vacilón de la Mañana, (The Morning Joker), on WXDJ-FM El Zol 95.7, a Spanish-language salsa station. “He fell for it.” […] The joke was part of a segment called Fidel Te Llama or ”Fidel’s Calling You,” in which Santos and his co-host, Joe Ferrero, call various people and play snippets of a controversial conversation between Castro and Mexican President Vicente Fox that Castro made public in 2001.

Probably the only ones who were not laughing was Castro and his fan club known as CNN-NBC. Here was how the “conversation” went…

”Hello Fidel!” booms Chávez.

”Did you receive my letter?” asks Castro.

”Of course I received it,” replies Chavez. “I spoke with Germán.”

”I’m all set to collaborate with you,” Castro says.

As the nonsequiturs start, El Vacilón fakes trouble on the line to disguise the rejoinders that don’t make sense.

”Yes, brother, how’s it going?” Chávez asks.

”I’ll do what you’re asking me to,” Castro replies.

”I don’t understand,” a bewildered Chávez says.

”But I’m going to be harmed, I confess to you,” Castro says.

Silence from Chávez. Castro goes on: “Everything’s set for Tuesday.”

”Everything’s set for Tuesday,” Chávez repeats, obviously befuddled. “I don’t understand.”

Santos then breaks in and announces they were calling from Miami. Complete silence from Chávez. Santos launches into a tirade: ”Terrorist! Animal! Murderer!” plus a few choice four-letter nouns. “You’re finishing off the Venezuelan people!”

Absolutely hilarious.

Retail Sector is Not the Whole Economy

Kudos to Paul Farhi at the Washington Post for his exposé of the financial media’s abusive grandiosity in interpreting retail industry holiday sales figures as bellwethers of the overall economy. Among other gems in this article, Farhi writes,

 “Consider this fact: Total retail sales in the United States have increased every month, with one exception, for the past 11 years, according to the U.S. Commerce Department’s seasonally adjusted data. That’s 130 months of rising sales (compared to the same month a year earlier) vs. one month of declining sales (October). I’ll give 130-1 odds that December was yet another ‘up’ month.

“But surely, you say, holiday sales give us some idea of how the overall economy is doing, right? Wrong. It’s true that the economy has been relatively robust for some time, but the arrow hasn’t been pointing straight up for all those 11 years. Indeed, during the period when retail sales have been climbing, the quarterly gross domestic product has declined four times.

“..The retail-in-December story is, I think, irresistible to the media… First, tradition. The media are creatures of habit, reflexively recycling the same seasonal chestnuts. The holiday-shopping story is a comforting staple of the season.

“Second, retailers — who are among the biggest advertisers on radio and TV and in newspapers during December — are more than happy to encourage such stories. Media coverage of shopping is yet another reminder to the masses that it’s their patriotic duty to get out there and spend.”

Farhi is free to truth-tell like this because he’s a recovering business reporter who now writes for the Post’s “Style” section. And, perhaps, because his conscience is clean. Heading off the legion of blogging fact-checkers like me, a post-script to the article states, “He was a Business section reporter for 11 years, during which he managed to avoid writing about the holiday shopping season.”

Peace through Slavery

In an disgusting op-ed in the NY Times, “Bring Back the Draft”, Democrat Charlie Rangle states that the guiding principle behind a draft is that of “shared sacrifice”, and that a draft will undermine the American government’s ability to engage in a war against Iraq because,

“…those calling for war knew that their children were likely to be required to serve — and to be placed in harm’s way — there would be more caution and a greater willingness to work with the international community in dealing with Iraq. A renewed draft will help bring a greater appreciation of the consequences of decisions to go to war.”

In regards to the draft Ayn Rand writes in her Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal,

“Of all the statist violations of individual rights in a mixed economy, the military draft is the worst. It is an abrogation of rights. It negates man’s fundamental right–the right to life–and establishes the fundamental principle of statism: that a man’s life belongs to the state, and the state may claim it by compelling him to sacrifice it in battle. If the state may force a man to risk death or hideous maiming and crippling, in a war declared at the state’s discretion, for a cause he may neither approve of nor even understand, if his consent is not required to send him into unspeakable martyrdom–then, in principle, all rights are negated in that state, and its government is not man’s protector any longer. What is there left to protect?”

Of course, the protection of individual rights is not Mr. Rangles concern–the enslaving of American adults through “national service” is. After all, are not our children forced to “serve” through mandatory “volunteerism”? Now that we have conscripted American children, are not America’s young adults the next logical step?